Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Getting Gastric

I don't much care for Star Jones, but I think her frank article in Glamour is pretty good.

Bloodless Bullfights

We have them here in California. Instead of stabbing bulls with things that have darts on the end, bullfighters in the San Joaquin Valley use velcro. More here and here. Interestingly tidbit: olé is derived from the word Allah.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

If a Person Could Be a Pet Peeve

Dare I say, looking a little like Michael Jackson?

...that person would be Winona Ryder. She bugs me. Always has. I never thought she was a good actress. She always has that pained, unnatural, breathlessness about her. Kinda like Julianne Moore (who I also don't like). I can acknowledge that she's pretty, but only grudgingly. I laughed when I heard she got busted for shoplifting. I thought she was over, at long last.

But according to Vogue (or perhaps because of Vogue), Winona is coming back. She is on the August cover. And so, of course, I took a look. For the past few years, the August issue has been the "Age Issue," which is very helpful for telling woman what clothes, makeup and cosmetic procedures are age-appropriate. I'm in my 30s. So is Winona (she's 35). It sorta bothers me that she's a representative of my decade. But to put a positive on it-- better Winona than Gwyneth.

Anyhoo, I bought the August issue. It's not so bad. I learned something: Hillary's traveling chief of staff is a 30-something woman of South Asian descent named Huma Abedin. She started out as an intern in the first lady's office and worked her way up. Now she's Hillary's right hand.

Early Sunday Morning Wanderings

Woke up at 8am. Octopus is still sleeping. The house is bright and quiet and I'm sitting on the floor of the living room listening to Alicia Keys. It's not too hot yet. This is my favorite time of the weekend. The day ahead of me. When I lived in NY, I thought the best way to spend my weekend doing nothing. Somehow I thought doing nothing would make the time go by more slowly. I was wrong. Now I want to make a lists of things to do and start checking them off. That way when Monday comes around I can look back and remember all the things I did. Have I already blogged about this?

Things I want to do today:

1. Go to hardware store and get garden hose and replacement sprinkler head.
2. Go to yoga class
3. Swifter the house
4. Make a couple succulent arrangements
5. Wrap gifts for relatives
6. Go shopping for exercise clothes
7. Back up pictures and music

(My life is so exciting!)

I'm really excited for The Bourne Ultimatum. I even had a Bourne-like dream last night. My parents (or people posing as them) were plotting against me and I had to escape. I didn't know who to trust, what to believe. I vaguely remember something about jumping off a train. Only it wasn't a real train, it was more like a ride at an amusement park.

(Sidenote: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck lived in Eagle Rock when they first came to LA. They were on Hill Drive, the nicest street in the neighborhood, and I believe the house they were in is now for sale.)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Beware: Kids Crossing. Sort of...

A guy in Ohio started putting life size, cut out kids along streets to slow down traffic. We should put these up around LA. More here.

Summer Movie Unspectacular

The Namesake

The best movie I've seen so far this summer is Knocked Up. Regular readers know that I already blogged about that movie. It's a bummer that I haven't seen anything really good since then. Here's a run down.

A Mighty Heart. I didn't pay to see it, but I would have. Much better than I expected. Angelina Jolie was good, and that's saying something since I don't think she's all that.

The Namesake. I'm lukewarm about this one. The first half is good (the part about the parents), but the second half not as good (the part about Kal Penn and his lady troubles). A little too melodramatic at the end.

The Simpsons. Saw this last night and was disappointed. A couple disclaimers: I'm not a Simpsons fan (don't love them, don't hate them, just don't watch them) and I had high expectations because of all the good reviews. South Park the movie was better.

Transformers. Didn't watch the cartoon in the 80s and didn't care for this movie. Corny jokes, weak story and way too much CGI fighting. The end fight goes on waaaaay too long.

Ratatouille. The animation was so good that the rats looked real and grossed me out. Rat-as-chef concept is not enough to sustain a full length movie. As one of our friends said, "there just wasn't enough at stake." Rent Flushed Away instead.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Remember Knut?

Sadly, he's not this cute anymore.

Not so little Knut has a book out in Germany. The American version comes out this Fall.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Going Super Small

A woman in Washington State downsizes to a house the size of a parking spot.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shopping for Teenagers

A couple teenage relatives of mine recently celebrated their birthdays. They live in Europe and I hardly ever see them, so I decided to get them presents. I drove to the Glendale Galleria, the nearest mall to my house, and tried to imagine what kids that age want. I decided that clothes were the way to go, even though I haven't seen them in years and have no idea how big they are now.

I walked through the mall and saw a bunch of kids going into a very dim store. It turned out to be Abercrombie. I've never been into an Abercrombie. When I was a teenager, everyone was shopping at GAP, J. Crew and Banana Republic. Abercrombie was just beginning to open shops and I remember their clothes were being sporty and boring. Kinda like Eddie Bauer. Well, times have changed because now it's jumping. After Abercrombie, I followed kids into another store. Something called Hollister.

These stores made me feel old and crotchety. They were both really dark (I felt like I was in a club), packed to the hilt with everything from clothes and plants to flat screens and couches, and had a fragrance that hit you over the heard the minute you walked in. My senses were being assaulted. Help! I like my stores to be open, bright and spare.. So after I bought some clothes, I made a beeline to my idea of shopping heaven: Williams-Sonoma.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Open House

Is it strange that I go to open houses even though we already have a house? Last week I saw a house where the seller had all sorts of personal pictures and info out in the open. I thought you were supposed to de-personalize your house when you put it up for sale. Take down the pictures in the hallway and stuff like that. Well, this woman had her B.A. from Columbia up on the wall. She also had tons and tons of pictures of herself (they looked like headshots) and her young son all over the place. I googled her when I got home (cuz I'm like that) and found out that she runs some self-help business on how to be a sexy single mom. Last year I saw a house with an Emmy Award on the mantel. I wanted to get up real close to see the name, but the agent was standing right there and I didn't want him to think I was a weirdo.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Santiago, Chile

Only good things to say about Santiago. The city is modern, clean and safe and the people are friendly. There isn't tons to do, but it's a good (and necessary) stopover for other points in Chile.

Santiago is in a very active earthquake zone and yet it has a great subway system that everyone uses. If only LA were like this.

Riding the teleferico.

The very cool and colorful Bellavista neighborhood.


Quiet evening in the city.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Don't Know Why, but I Joined Facebook

I created an account and now I'm flailing around like an idiot. I feel like an old hag cuz I don't really get it. What's facebook for anyways? Fun? Dating? Networking? Is it like the new friendster? Am I sUppOSed 2 wRITe liKE tHiS? I created a friendster account a few years ago and then abandoned it. I wonder if the same will happen here. Apart from not being able to navigate my facebook page, my problem is that I don't want to reveal much personal info. Seems like a big part of it is listing your interests, schools and uploading pictures....

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Easter Island Rocks

The road up to Rano Raraku, the quarry from which all the moai (stone statues) were carved. Rano Raraku was hands down the coolest thing we saw on the island (or ever, possibly).

Completed and half-buried moai along the outer rim of the quarry. There are moai all around the island-- some close to the quarry, others miles away.

An especially charismatic moai.

There are only a few roads outside of town, some were paved, but most weren't. We saw lots of wild horses and a few cows.

Ahu Tongariki. The largest re-constructed ahu on the island, with 15 moai (ahu is sort of like a shrine and is the flat thing on which the moai stand). It's hard to tell from this picture just how big the moai are, but the tallest one is 46 ft, the shortest is 18 ft, and the average weight per moai is 40 tons. By the time European explorers made it to Easter Island (18th century or so) all of the moai and ahu had been toppled as a result of tribal conflict. So all of the moai on Ahu Tongariki and other ahus on the island are standing today because of archaeological restoration.

All of the moai are different. Some have pukao (topknots or hats), which were carved from red volcanic rock from a different quarry called Puna Pao. It blows my mind to think that the natives transported moai from one quarry miles away and pukao from another quarry miles in the other direction, and erected the moai with pukao on top (somehow it fit!), all without the help of wheels or working animals (the horses are believed to have been brought by the Spanish).

A rainbow after one of the many showers on the island.

Sunset at Ahu Tahai.